Saturday, April 19, 2008

Keith Jarrett - Tokyo Solo

Keith Jarrett: Tokyo Solo, originally uploaded by peripathetic.

It’s become chilly in the house today. But I didn’t notice until this DVD had stopped.

It still hasn’t stopped in my head.

After his bout of chronic fatigue syndrome, Jarrett returned to the stage with two solo concerts in Japan, one of which was recorded for CD and published under the title Radiance, the other recorded for this DVD. His style had changed — instead of the familiarly monumental, arching single-movement improvisations, these were a series of shorter, more impressionistic creations.

I said at the time that this new music was pottery very much still on the wheel before the comparative solidity of The Carnegie Hall Concert, and this DVD answers me with as much riveting music as anyone could ask for.

There are times when he abandons note-values altogether; others when he shares his knowledge of Bach and Shostakovich within five minutes of each other and it doesn’t jar in the slightest. Times when, if you’ve heard Radiance or Carnegie Hall, you might wonder why the audience doesn’t applaud at the end of a piece — until you realise with a little excitement that nobody had ever heard him doing this before.

It shows, too — at one point, a person starts clapping late, thinking that the start of a new piece is the final hesitant blush of the last one. His face undergoes a quick crease like wind over water, the music stops for 10 seconds — and never returns, abandoned as he starts again with a completely different idea and carries it for 20 minutes.

Some of you won’t love the relative lack of big, broad tunes and immediately catchy hooks, but you will know everything is alright when you see him give the the audience a little glance of quizzical, playful agreement before each of the three Standards he plays as encores.

The sound is top-quality (5.1 Dolby and DTS if that matters to you), and the picture is just Jarrett and the piano surrounded by darkness, shot wide and closeup from different angles in perfect focus. My advice, as with that of others is, of course, to buy it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Greenwich snow

Greenwich snow, originally uploaded by peripathetic.

Jonathan sent me this photo he took this morning. It's April, for goodness' sake! And this is central London. Surreal and marvellous.